Over the next 4 days, the world’s best baristas—representing more than 50 countries—will be competing in Vienna for the title of World Barista Champion. The winner will become a global ambassador of Specialty Coffee and a representative of coffee at its best. This year’s champion will become the 13th barista to hold the title, following last year’s winner, Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador.
The competition format is fairly straight forward to watch, but the specifics of judging are a bit more complex. In simplest terms, each barista has 15 minutes to serve three drinks to 4 sensory judges—a single espresso, a cappuccino and a signature beverage.
The drinks from each category can be presented in any order, but all drinks in a category must use the same coffee and be served to all 4 judges before the drinks from a different category can be served. There are also 2 technical judges who monitor bar cleanliness and the proper use of equipment, while a head judge oversees timekeeping and that all rules are properly followed. (Complete WBC Rules)
If you’re interested, you can watch the entire event for free on Livestream. Also follow @Sprudge on Twitter for the best text-based coverage of the event or visit Sprudge’s website for competition schedules and other frothy details.
This year’s barista competitions are now in full swing and baristas around the world have begun competing for a shot at the world title in Vienna this summer. It’s a big deal in the specialty coffee industry, but I doubt you’ll see many billboards from Ticketmaster advertising the event. However, if the World Barista Championship ever finds itself heading to San Francisco, they should call up designer Valerie Schwartz and ask what it would cost to change the date on these posters and start posting them around town.
The beautiful line drawings of San Francisco’s hillside landscapes combined with great typography have created a truly incredible set of collateral for the event—even in its hypothetical state. The series of posters, tickets and event program are successfully tied together with a system of watercolor (coffee) textures and a monochromatic palette.
The design uses several coffee clichés in new and elegant ways to make it populist as well as innovative. If real, it could have the potential of reaching a broader audience and encourage regular coffee consumers to learn more about how the profession is being pushed to new heights and improving their coffee experiences.
Over the weekend, top baristas from 53 countries around the world competed for the title of World Barista Champion in Bogota, Colombia—the winner becoming the face of exceptional specialty coffee around the world. After a great all-around competition and an incredibly refined finals round on Sunday, Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador took the top prize with his stunning presentation. Big congrats to every competitor, who all exhibited incredible skill, craft and expertise in coffee.
World Barista Champion: Alejandro Mendez, El Salvador (710.5) 2nd: Pete Licata, USA (659.5) 3rd: Matt Perger, Australia (659) 4th: Javier Garcia, Spain (631.5) 5th: Miki Suzuki, Japan (629.5) 6th: John Gordon, UK (613.5)
Not only was this the first Championship held in a producing country* it’s the first time a barista from a producing country has won. Alejandro’s presentation showed his expert knowledge, not only of the coffee most consumers are familiar with, but everything else that is usually discarded in the harvesting process.
Alejandro’s signature drink was comprised of an infusion of coffee mucilage, a tea made with dried coffee flowers, and a tea made from cascara (dried coffee cherries). The espresso used, which was separated from the crema, was a single origin El Salvador, called Finca La Illusion. It was grown by Ernesto Menendez on the slopes of the Sanata Ana volcano and roasted by Steve Leighton of Has Bean Coffee in the UK.
After Alejandro’s final presentation, the internet lit up with excitement, claiming that El Salvador had won, even with several contestants left to compete. His presentation was remarkably calm, personable, and had a beautiful story. I can only imagine how great the drinks tasted. You can watch the final presentation below.
*While the US and Australia both produce coffee, I reserve the term “coffee producing” for countries who include coffee among their primary exports.
View videos of the all the competitors on Livestream